Originally created 12/23/99

Across the area: Police: Man shot himself by mistake

A 19-year-old Aiken man playing with a gun accidentally shot himself in the chin late Tuesday, police said.

Justin Burnetti, of the 1500 block of Hamilton Drive, was treated and released from Aiken Regional Medical Centers after the shooting, according to a police report.

His mother, Mildred McGhee, called public safety officers to report the shooting at about 11:50 p.m. The teen first told officers that an unidentified friend had accidentally shot him and run from the apartment.

But the teen's sister, identified as Colleen Rendell, told officials that her brother was playing with the .25-caliber gun and pulled the trigger on purpose. She said Mr. Burnetti had removed the magazine from the weapon, placed the gun under his chin and shot himself, not knowing there was a round still in the chamber, a police report stated.

Mr. Burnetti later told officials he got the gun from a friend. It was turned over to police because the mother did not consent to keeping it in the house.


Four teens arrested after 'prank'

The teens called it a fraternity prank, but Aiken police called it shoplifting, minors in possession of beer and carrying a fake ID.

Four teens were arrested Tuesday after a disturbance at Starvin Marvin on York Street. A cashier told police a teen put a $1 bag of snacks under his coat. The suspect, John Brandon Avant, said the incident was a fraternity prank, a police report stated.

While talking to the teens, the public safety officer smelled alcohol on their breath and discovered a cooler with beer and open liquor bottles in their car, a report stated. One of the teens had a fake identification card with an altered birthdate, and another had several driver's licenses in his possession, the report stated.

Mr. Avant, 18, of Florence, S.C., was charged with shoplifting and possession of beer by a person under 21. James Andrew Bigham, 18, of Florence, was charged with possession of beer by a person under 21, possession of multiple driver's licenses and possession of an altered driver's license.

Miguel Angel Cordero Jr., 18, of the 100 block of Gatewood Drive, Aiken, was charged with possession of beer by a person under 21, transporting legal liquor unlawfully and possessing multiple driver's licenses.

Michael Allen Glefke, 18, of the 100 block of Rhond Street, Aiken, was charged with possession of a beer by a person under 21.


International Paper to pay fine

International Paper Co.'s south Richmond County pulp and paper mill will pay Georgia Environmental Protection Division $1,500 in fines over a June incident in which kiln emissions exceeded permitted levels.

According to a consent order negotiated between EPD Director Harold Reheis and the plant's manager, R.F. Dansby, a June 2 test of a lime kiln yielded particulate emissions of 33 pounds per hour. The maximum allowed on that piece of equipment is 23.9 pounds per hour.

Plant officials later shut down and inspected the kiln and repaired a cracked part. A subsequent test June 14 yielded particulate emissions of 19 pounds per hour -- well within compliance levels.

The company agreed to pay $1,500 for the emissions violation and to implement more stringent monitoring of the plant equipment.


Transit lists holiday schedule

Augusta Public Transit will stop all service by 7 p.m. Friday and will be closed Saturday in observance of the holidays.

Buses will begin running again Monday with regular service.

The buses also will end service on New Year's Eve by 7 p.m. In addition, because of the Celebrate 2000 street party, some Broad Street routes will have to be rerouted.

The routes that will end early Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are: East Augusta, ending at 6:30 p.m.; Augusta Mall and Barton Chapel routes, both ending at 7 p.m.; and two Regency Mall routes, ending at 6:45 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Police search for robbery suspect

Augusta authorities continue to search for a man who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint Wednesday morning.

Kim's Fast Shop, 1959 Kissingbower Road, was robbed at about 8:35 a.m., said Ronald Strength, chief deputy for Richmond County Sheriff's Department. The robber pointed a handgun at an employee and demanded money, Chief Deputy Strength said.

The clerk gave the bandit cash from the register. The robber then turned the gun on a cab driver who had entered the store, and robbed her of cash. The robber fled on foot, Chief Deputy Strength said.

The robber was described as black, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. He wore a black-hooded sweatshirt and green jeans and had a black handkerchief tied about his face, Chief Deputy Strength said.


Fort honored for pollution work

Fort Gordon and the U.S. Army Signal Center have been certified as leaders in pollution prevention for use of alternate fuels, reduced motor oil usage and other programs.

The certification was bestowed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Pollution Prevention Assistance Division, which works to reduce pollution through efficiency and environmental diligence.

Fort Gordon added 42 natural gas-powered vehicles to its fleet with hydrocarbon emissions 85 to 95 percent less than gasoline-powered vehicles and implemented a cleaning system that uses enzymes to digest oil and grease, thus eliminating about 8,000 gallons a year of spent solvents from the site's waste stream.

Two other projects -- a recycling center for antifreeze and a shop towel recycling program -- are estimated to save Fort Gordon about $22,000 a year and reduce the fort's waste stream by 17,000 pounds a year.


United Way exceeds 1999 goal

Without an announcement, the United Way of the Central Savannah River Area quietly slipped over its $3.8 million capital campaign goal at the end of last week.

"We're excited. Everyone's spirits are high, and we are thankful we've reached our goal," said Debby Kalliokoski, vice president of fund raising and chief operating officer. As of Wednesday, the United Way had raised $3,818,988.

However, the work is not yet done on the campaign, with totals for several campaigns still out.

Ms. Kalliokoski said the annual meeting, scheduled for Feb. 29 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, should include a big celebration as the total amount raised will be announced; also, she said, it is hoped the organization will have a new president.

Former President and Chief Professional Officer Keith Benson resigned in July.


Head-on collision kills woman

A collision on Damascus Road took the life of an Augusta woman and sent one man to the hospital.

Lynn Marie Corley, 21, of Nina Drive, was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m. on the scene of a head-on collision involving her car and a pickup.

"She died of massive blunt force trauma," said Richmond County Coroner Leroy Sims.

The accident occurred in the 3100 block of Damascus Road. Ms. Corley was driving south on Damascus Road when her Pontiac crossed the center line and struck a pickup traveling north.

"We think she was using her cell phone and didn't look up" Mr. Sims said. "She went over into the other lane and hit the truck head on. She had to be moving pretty good because it demolished both of the vehicles."

The driver of the truck was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. His identity and condition were not available late Wednesday.


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